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European Leaders Reportedly Hadn’t Time to Deplore Israel

February 16, 1988
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The leaders of the 12 European Community member states would have affirmed the Middle East policy statement issued by their foreign ministers in Bonn last week had they not been preoccupied by other matters, EC sources said Monday.

As it was, the assembled chiefs of state and heads of government had no time to discuss international affairs before their two-day emergency meeting ended here early Saturday, the sources said.

The ministers in Bonn, addressed by King Hussein of Jordan, released a statement Friday reiterating their strong support for an international peace conference on the Middle East to be held under the auspices of the United Nations.

They declared such a forum to be the most suitable framework to resolve the Arab-Israel conflict and urged all parties to work to convene a conference as soon as possible.

However, the ministers stopped short of endorsing a new U.S. Mideast initiative that calls for an international “opening” or “event” next December.

West German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher will visit Washington shortly and is expected to discuss the Middle East with the American administration.

The EC foreign ministers also “deeply deplored” what they called the repressive measures taken by Israel to quell disturbances by Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and demanded they be halted. They also deplored the Israeli settlement policy in the territories and the diversion of resources to the “illegal settlements.”

According to EC sources, the intervention of Holland, considered the most pro-Israel member of the EC, softened the statement somewhat by having the word “deplore” substituted for “condemn.”

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